POLITICS

Penny Nance: Women make America work

Strike set for March 8th

 

Just when we thought gender identity politics was officially old school, the left, angry about the election, gives it another go. 

Certainly the “Women’s March,” which excluded pro-life feminists from their ranks with the efficiency that would make mean-girl Regina George proud, garnered enough media attention to merit round two. 

Therefore, on March 8, we get the next installment of their outrage in the form of a strike dubbed “A Day Without Women.” 

One wonders what second-wave feminists make of this strategy. The women who shattered the glass ceiling by hard work and grit, making a way for all of us to compete, should be appalled.  In a rambling treatise of general aggrievement the organizers urge women to stay home to oppose policies that “perpetuate oppression.” 

Not every woman has achieved her goals, but to be part of the solution one has to show up.

Oh, where to begin. 

First with some truth. Even Hillary Clinton acknowledged that there has “never been a better time in history to be born female,” in her April 2015 speech to the Women in the World Summit. And she is right. 

According to the Department of Education, women are more likely to graduate from college, graduate school, or become doctors than men. Census data shows that women in their twenties are outearning men in metropolitan America. Carrie Lukas, managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum, pointed to a 2010 study of single, childless workers in urban areas between the ages of 22 and 30 that showed women earned on average eight percent more than men. It is even estimated that in four years “one third” of American jobs will be generated by companies owned by women. (Roshania, 2011)

A study done by American Express OPEN found that as of 2013 in the U.S.:

  • There are estimated to be more than 8.6 million women-owned businesses generating revenues over $1.3 trillion and employing 7.8 million people.
  • Between 1997 and 2013, the number of women-owned firms increased at a rate of one-and-a-half times the national average.
  • The number of women-owned businesses was up 59 percent, employment in them was up 10 percent, and revenues produced by them were up 63 percent, which topped the growth rates of all privately held businesses during this time.
  • Women-owned firms continue to diversify into all industries and, since 2002, women-owned firms are exceeding overall sector growth rates in eight of the 13 most populous industries.

Kay Hymowitz, in Foreign Policy, shows how well women are doing in the business world: We are as likely as American men to be company managers.

The U.S. has the highest proportion of women in senior management positions (43 percent) of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (women comprise 47 percent of the U.S. labor force); the U.S. was ranked eighth globally in gender equality by the World Economic Forum; 24 percent of working American women are in professional fields (compared to only 16 percent of working American men); 46 percent of American firms are owned or co-owned by women.

But here is the reality check.  In addition to the above-mentioned gains, Hymowitz noted that women are still hitting the “glass ceiling” in some areas. In the legal profession, we make up 47 percent of law school students, but only 21 percent of law school deans, 20 percent of law firm partners, and 23 percent of federal judges. In medicine, we make up 48 percent of medical school graduates, but only 13 percent of medical school deans and department chairs, and only 19 percent of full professors. In business schools, we earn 37 percent of the MBAs, but we account for only 14 percent of executive officers, 18 percent of senior financial officers, and four percent of CEOs.

But the answer to the above numbers is complicated. Children change the wants and needs of women. Ivanka Trump has that right. But the mish mash of leftist organizers for “A Day Without Women” have gotten it backwards. Women don’t make it to the board room by pouting. We reach these illusive roles by being the best, and one becomes the best by first showing up. 

Secondly, forty-seven percent of women identify as feminists.  Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway recently remarked that she is a post-feminist, saying, “I consider myself a postfeminist. I consider myself one of those women who is a product of her choices, not a victim of her circumstances.”

This is part of the reason why feminism has lost its appeal to especially younger women. Women no longer see ourselves as aggrieved. We fully expect to compete and win.

To target women who are employed and, by and large, are winning, they undermine their own credibility. The funders of these efforts no doubt want more action for the cameras, but real ideological feminists will most likely take the long view and resist the temptation to join the “resistance.” 

Women are not a small special interest group. We are the majority of the population and diverse in our views and values. 

Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization, and we respectfully dissent from the left’s characterization of women. 

In fact, we will be hitting social media on March 8 to urge women to not only go to work but to kill it at work. 

Women are not only a vital part of the economy, we also profit from the free market.

Not every woman has achieved her goals, but to be part of the solution one has to show up.

Finally, join us on March 8 in declaring the truth that #WomenMakeAmericaWork. 

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).

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